TechnoEnvironments - Social power relations in TechnoEnvironments


Single Panel


Session 4
Thu 09:00-10:30 Room 0.19


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The emergence of new technical environments through digitalisation and the transformation of societies has been analysed from different standpoints. We can distinguish three prototypical positions, which define a field, in which specific analyses can be situated. Most common is arguably the view which departs from the technical specifications, for example the programmes and functions of social media applications, the role of algorithms. The materialist view focuses on the concrete infrastructure and on the appliances, which are needed as hardware. A third view can be characterised as social constructivist and takes processes of appropriation of technical appliances as primary dynamics – or even further, would question the primacy of the material basis of technical developments.

Social power relations are reproduced, augmented and challenged in new technical environments. Here, we observe the transformation of power relations affecting the political sphere, the organisation of labour and class divisions. The appropriation of nature as well as cultural and religious processes may be analysed.

Southeast Asia is the world region, where digitalisation processes are most advanced and where we find the highest penetration of social media. The area constitutes an important field for research in two respects: As a laboratory, which shows general trends and trajectories and as a dynamic region, which exhibits area specific characteristics, some of which seem to be augmented and develop into distinct features. We are looking for contributions which investigate the connection between technically transformed environments and power relations. Contributions which compare different societies or countries in the region are welcome:
• How are social relations challenged or maintained by techno-environments?
• How are these power relations mediated by class or the reproduction of labor?
• How can these techno-environments be conceptualized in an intersectional manner?